Step therapy is a cost saving tactic used by insurers that requires people with arthritis and other potentially debilitating conditions to try and fail lower-cost medications before covering more expensive treatments. In other words, insurance companies oftentimes disregard treating physicians’ knowledge of their patients and related expertise, forcing patients to try cheaper medications, all to save a few dollars.
Sponsored by Delegate John Kelly, House Bill 2300 was signed into law and establishes a clear channel for patients and practitioners to request an override when an insurance provider levies such mandates. With override approval, patients can take medications, as prescribed by their physicians, without enduring a long and arduous process of trying other medications that might prove ineffective or dangerous, all while the pain and disability of their arthritis escalates.
“This important bill will save lives,” said Delegate Kelly. “It provides assurances that the doctor patient relationship is honored, and brings prescription responsibilities back to the physician where it belongs. Receiving the proper medication in a timely manner is an important step in the medical process.”
Arthritis Foundation State Director, Advocacy and Access, Pam Fields, explained, “Our success with restricting step therapy would not have been possible without involvement and support from our West Virginia Advocates. The day the bill passed in the House, our Advocates were present in the galleries to celebrate the victory.”
Chris Poe is one of several Advocates who worked tirelessly lobbying for passage of this bill. “The West Virginia step therapy bill will affect a lot of people and they are very thankful for the Arthritis Foundation’s participation in getting this to the forefront of the legislature,” said Poe. “I was thrilled to be part of a bill that will help so many West Virginians. This is history in the making – what a privilege to be a part of it!”
While we have achieved this great success in West Virginia, step therapy strategies are active in many states throughout the country. Our work is not done and we need your help to continue the fight. Learn more about our powerful advocacy program.